Report: Ben Simmons' Frustration Contributed to 76ers Not Re-Signing Jimmy Butler

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 21, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons plays during Game 7 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The Philadelphia 76ers decided against re-signing Jimmy Butler to a long-term deal in the summer of 2019, and Fox Sports' Yaron Weitzman reported Philly point guard Ben Simmons' frustration with seeing Butler run the offense played a part in that decision:

"According to league sources, Simmons’ frustration at being relegated to off-ball duty during the team’s 2019 second-round loss to the Raptors contributed to the front office’s decision to not re-sign Jimmy Butler. Brown had handed Butler the keys to the offense, and management was worried how Simmons would handle having Butler around and monopolizing crunch-time playmaking duties for multiple years."

Butler landed with the Miami Heat thanks to a sign-and-trade as part of a four-team deal with the Heat, 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers. He proceeded to make the All-Star team and lead the Heat to the NBA Finals in his first year in Miami.

The 76ers have made the playoffs each of the past four years but have failed to get past the Eastern Conference semifinals. This year's failure was particularly heartbreaking, as the top-seeded 76ers were upset by a shorthanded Atlanta Hawks team in seven second-round games.

Simmons notably struggled offensively, scoring just 9.9 points per game and shooting 32.7 percent from the free-throw line. He took just 14 shots over the 76ers' last three games.

The Butler-led 76ers got the closest to the Eastern Conference Finals, losing on then-Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard's buzzer-beating shot in Game 7 of the second round in a 92-90 result.

The post-Butler 76ers haven't fared any better, and now the team is left wondering what to do as it searches for a playoff breakthrough.